NCTE: The State Department Is Not Revoking Passports for Trans People

The State Department is not revoking the passports of transgender people, despite reports suggesting otherwise, says the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).

The reports come in the wake of a July 27 story published by queer Condé Nast-owned website them detailing the stories of two trans women whose passports were retroactively revoked. The Washington Blade first reported NCTE’s correction of the media reports after the organization Tweeted corrections over the weekend.

“To many people, two dots makes a line,” said NCTE Media Relations Manager Gillian Branstetter. But Branstetter said the State Department is still following 2010 policy in issuing passports reflecting a trans person’s current identity.  

“These instances that have been reported in the media, we do not feel that they are reflective of a broader policy change at the State Department at this time,” Branstetter said.

In its report, them relayed the stories of two trans women whose passports had been revoked, setting off nationwide fears that the State Department had changed course. One story was that of Gender Justice League Executive Director Danni Askini.

In a Facebook post, Askini clarified that her case was a single incident and backed up NCTE’s statement.

“What’s happening with my passport is unique to the facts in my case (adoption as a minor and being trans) and I have been crystal clear about that,” Askini wrote. “As a trans person with a relatively high profile, I do have lingering questions about the extent of hoops I am being asked to jump through as well as the cruel indifference with which the current policy is being applied in my case.”

them also published the story of technology researcher Janus Rose, whose application to update her passport with her new legal name was denied.

“She basically told me that even though the government had changed my gender marker in the last year, that was a mistake,” Rose said.

Branstetter said NCTE has investigated the stories and those two incidents represent individual errors, not new policy.

“NCTE has seen bureaucratic errors like this since before the Trump administration,” said Branstetter.

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